Arrange 9 red cubes, 9 blue cubes and 9 yellow cubes into a large 3 by 3 cube. No row or column of cubes must contain two cubes of the same colour.
Take 5 cubes of one colour and 2 of another colour. How many different ways can you join them if the 5 must touch the table and the 2 must not touch the table?
Take a rectangle of paper and fold it in half, and half again, to make four smaller rectangles. How many different ways can you fold it up?
Can you make dice stairs using the rules stated? How do you know you have all the possible stairs?
Using different numbers of sticks, how many different triangles are you able to make? Can you make any rules about the numbers of sticks that make the most triangles?
Are all the possible combinations of two shapes included in this set of 27 cards? How do you know?
Kate has eight multilink cubes. She has two red ones, two yellow, two green and two blue. She wants to fit them together to make a cube so that each colour shows on each face just once.
How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or DVDs? How about using five, then six?
Let's say you can only use two different lengths - 2 units and 4 units. Using just these 2 lengths as the edges how many different cuboids can you make?
Take a counter and surround it by a ring of other counters that MUST touch two others. How many are needed?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?
In how many ways can you fit two of these yellow triangles together? Can you predict the number of ways two blue triangles can be fitted together?
The ancient Egyptians were said to make right-angled triangles using a rope with twelve equal sections divided by knots. What other triangles could you make if you had a rope like this?
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
Can you order pictures of the development of a frog from frogspawn and of a bean seed growing into a plant?
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
How can you put five cereal packets together to make different shapes if you must put them face-to-face?
Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.
Make new patterns from simple turning instructions. You can have a go using pencil and paper or with a floor robot.
In this challenge, you will work in a group to investigate circular fences enclosing trees that are planted in square or triangular arrangements.
Can you create more models that follow these rules?
Arrange your fences to make the largest rectangular space you can. Try with four fences, then five, then six etc.
Can you make the most extraordinary, the most amazing, the most unusual patterns/designs from these triangles which are made in a special way?
This practical problem challenges you to create shapes and patterns with two different types of triangle. You could even try overlapping them.
Can you predict when you'll be clapping and when you'll be clicking if you start this rhythm? How about when a friend begins a new rhythm at the same time?
A group of children are discussing the height of a tall tree. How would you go about finding out its height?
What is the greatest number of counters you can place on the grid below without four of them lying at the corners of a square?
What happens to the area of a square if you double the length of the sides? Try the same thing with rectangles, diamonds and other shapes. How do the four smaller ones fit into the larger one?
What is the largest number of circles we can fit into the frame without them overlapping? How do you know? What will happen if you try the other shapes?
This practical investigation invites you to make tessellating shapes in a similar way to the artist Escher.
These squares have been made from Cuisenaire rods. Can you describe the pattern? What would the next square look like?
We went to the cinema and decided to buy some bags of popcorn so we asked about the prices. Investigate how much popcorn each bag holds so find out which we might have bought.
This activity investigates how you might make squares and pentominoes from Polydron.
For this task, you'll need an A4 sheet and two A5 transparent sheets. Decide on a way of arranging the A5 sheets on top of the A4 sheet and explore ...
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
How can you arrange the 5 cubes so that you need the smallest number of Brush Loads of paint to cover them? Try with other numbers of cubes as well.
What do these two triangles have in common? How are they related?
Can you visualise what shape this piece of paper will make when it is folded?
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how it works?
Paint a stripe on a cardboard roll. Can you predict what will happen when it is rolled across a sheet of paper?
In this article for teachers, Bernard uses some problems to suggest that once a numerical pattern has been spotted from a practical starting point, going back to the practical can help explain. . . .
Have a look at what happens when you pull a reef knot and a granny knot tight. Which do you think is best for securing things together? Why?
Make a flower design using the same shape made out of different sizes of paper.
Here are some ideas to try in the classroom for using counters to investigate number patterns.
Can you work out what shape is made by folding in this way? Why not create some patterns using this shape but in different sizes?
What shape is made when you fold using this crease pattern? Can you make a ring design?
What are the next three numbers in this sequence? Can you explain why are they called pyramid numbers?
Use the lines on this figure to show how the square can be divided into 2 halves, 3 thirds, 6 sixths and 9 ninths.
This problem invites you to build 3D shapes using two different triangles. Can you make the shapes from the pictures?